Speed Awareness Week runs Aug. 14-21
Gov. Kathy Hochul announced law enforcement agencies throughout New York state will be increasing patrols to target speeding from Aug. 14-21. Speed Awareness Week is a high-visibility enforcement campaign supported by the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee to stop speeding and prevent avoidable crashes caused by unsafe speed.
"There are countless risks and tragic consequences to speeding, and I want all New Yorkers to be mindful of the speed limits in your area," Hochul said. "This enforcement campaign will be crucial not only to catch speeders, but also to encourage all drivers to maintain safe speeds on our roadways – and I encourage all New Yorkers to take your time and get to your destination safely."
According to preliminary data from the Institute for Traffic Safety Management and Research at the University at Albany's Rockefeller College, unsafe speed was a contributing factor in 353 fatal crashes in 2021, compared to 317 fatal crashes in 2020 – an 11% increase. The 353 fatal crashes last year resulted in 389 deaths, including drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians.
During last year's Speed Awareness Week, law enforcement throughout the state issued 23,087 tickets for speeding, and 32,170 tickets for other vehicle and traffic law violations, such as impaired and distracted driving.
Throughout the enforcement campaign, a "Speed Catches Up With You" public service announcement will be airing on broadcast and cable networks statewide, highlighting the penalty for speeding. Additionally, the new York State Department of Transportation will have variable message signs alerting motorists to the dangers of speeding.
Hochul’s team said data shows fatal crashes in New York caused by unsafe speed increase during the summer months with the highest totals in June through October. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), speed was a contributing factor in 29% of all traffic fatalities nationally in 2020. Additionally, NHTSA says speeding causes:
√ Greater potential for loss of vehicle control;
√ Reduced effectiveness of occupant protection equipment;
√ Increased stopping distance after the driver perceives a danger;
√ Increased degree of crash severity leading to more severe injuries; and
√ Increased fuel consumption/cost.
Department of Motor Vehicles Commissioner and GTSC Chair Mark J.F. Schroeder said, "GTSC is proud to support this enforcement campaign, once again, to not only raise awareness about the dangers of speeding, but ensure the safety of all those traveling on New York's roadways."
New York State Sheriffs' Association President Thomas Dougherty said, "When it comes to speeding, the risk is not worth the reward. You may get to your destination a few seconds sooner, but you are far more likely to be involved in a crash when speeding. Speed-related crashes often result in injuries and worse. The sheriffs of New York want you to enjoy your summer travels in a safe way, so obey the speed limit."
New York State Association of Chiefs of Police Executive Director Patrick Phelan said, "It is more important now than ever that police agencies focus their efforts on traffic enforcement. With traffic fatalities on the rise, proper traffic enforcement measures can and will save lives."
New York State Police Superintendent Kevin P. Bruen said, "Speeding is a dangerous behavior that needlessly results in multiple deaths and serious injuries every year. We urge all drivers to do their part to improve safety by obeying posted speed limits, being attentive, and putting away electronic devices while behind the wheel. Through education and enforcement, the New York State Police will continue to keep irresponsible drivers off the road."
Combined with education and enforcement campaigns, GTSC coordinates various traffic safety activities throughout the year, and supports ongoing initiatives to improve pedestrian, motorcycle and bicycle safety. The GTSC also sponsors critical training for law enforcement, provides resources for teen drivers and their parents, and promotes seatbelt use statewide.
For more information about traffic safety in New York, visit the GTSC website at https://trafficsafety.ny.gov/.